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jajagappa

Hill of Gold

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A question was raised over in the Facebook RuneQuest group: "Does anyone have any information regarding Hill of Gold, I have plans for my adventure group to visit the Hill but I would like if some one had some more detailed description!" and "are there any Maps or pictures available to start with, I understand it’s some kind of mountain or volcano with a city at the foot of the 'Hill'"

Some very good material shared by @soltakss on possible quests (and there are a lot of variations possible - quite a few others written up in Enclosure 2).

@Nick Brooke kindly posted the Yelmalio cult and GtG writeups over there, but here are my additional thoughts given my explorations over the years in the area:

The hill itself:  it is neither mountain nor volcano - it is a hill.  I picture it most like some of the tors in the Pennines, perhaps Musbury Tor, Shining Tor, or Cat's Tor (may be others that make an equally good representation), though perhaps slightly more peaked.  It is not a difficult climb per se.  Might be ~300m high above the plains.  Also worth noting that the Glacier did not cover the Hill of Gold - it stopped somewhere to the west, and left some line of glacial moraines.

The town nearby:  Peralam (which also means "Hill of Gold") has no great Sun Dome Temple, or any other magnificent temples.  It does have temples, probably with lots of little votive statues. As noted in the Guide: "No physical structure exists on the top of hill, although many temples can be found in the nearby city which prospers from the visiting pilgrims."

The town then is a place of pilgrimage, and a starting point for the climb up the hill.  You can find guides - there's lots of local Vanchites who are quite willing to "help" you (and divert you into their "quests" where the thieving Raccoon god can rob you).  Or, of course, you can go alone, following the myth you intend to follow.

Proximity to the Otherworld: Despite the "normality" (at least perhaps viewed from a distance), it is a place that is very close to the Otherworld.  In some material I was writing awhile back on Saird, I noted: "Normal folk stay away from the lurking shadows, the chilling air, the gusty winds, and hard-eyed warriors that haunt the great hill itself."  

Even a "this world" heroquest is going to bring others into the story.  There are Orlanthi at Peralam.  There may be an Ice Maiden or two of Inora there.  The trolls are probably in the Darkcrow Woods to the east of the town: "These woods are dark and brooding.  The sounds of crows sporadically interrupt the otherwise ominous silence.  And there is always a feeling of being watched.  Outlaws and criminals gather here, hiding from those who seek them."  These folk begin their own quests - "pulled" or "pulling" others as the ritual quests get underway. 

Crystals/god's blood:  you're not going to arrive there, march up the hill and find any.  It's been a place of pilgrimage for at least a millennium.  You need to get into a quest to find it.  And if you're in the role of Yelmalio, you're the one doing the bleeding.  Of course, the quest forces you to keep on, so until you can complete the quest, and then find where you/Yelmalio was wounded, the odds are against you easily finding any.

Performing a successful Worship ritual in your nearby temple/shrine is important for getting the quest underway.  But it's still easy to get "pulled" into someone else's quest, and not one of your direction.

I don't think there is a "queue" of folks waiting to go up, but pilgrims do come (probably at the urging of their priests), and visit the temples.  I suspect that if groups go, the quests lead them into "solo" paths as the real world and Otherworld interact.

Edited by jajagappa
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A few other notes that occurred to me as worthwhile to mention:  

  1. Quests start after Yelm has set.  Those who simply wish to visit the Hill of Gold likely make the climb during the day, say they've done it, and head off.  But those on real quests do not depart until its twilight and Lightfore has risen.  [That's another reason you don't see trolls at the Hill of Gold - they only arrive from wherever they lurk after dark.]
  2. The path of the planet Lightfore (aka Yelmalio) on a particular night likely ties into the Quest story.  
  3. While a Yelmalio quester might go alone, if they do go in a group, it is likely a group of four.  The reason I suggest that is that there are three points to the Truth rune, plus a center point where the arms join.  The leader of the quest, Yelmalio, is at the center.  He is accompanied by his Shield-bearer (always on the left), his Spear bearer (remember that Yelmalio still carried a sword before the quest), and his Torch bearer (the symbolic bearer of Fire).  [The native Vanchites will of course note that Yelmalio was accompanied by a Vanchite in one of these roles.]
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Is there also an issue that in some ways the Hill of Gold somehow reflects the Cosmic Mountain, even though it had been destroyed?

Perhaps as the pilgrims (whether of Yelmalio, Kargzant, Manimat or Antirius (or even Elmalus?)) ascend the 'hill' they enter the mythic landscape which is very different to the terrain seen from below, so that the mere hill becomes something closer to a golden mountain. If it doesn't change then the motives of the pilgrims aren't sufficiently pure, or they haven't undergone the necessary purification rituals.

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2 hours ago, M Helsdon said:

Is there also an issue that in some ways the Hill of Gold somehow reflects the Cosmic Mountain, even though it had been destroyed?

It's possible, though I don't know that it needs to push or reflect that since the myths all place it where it is in Peloria.  

2 hours ago, M Helsdon said:

Perhaps as the pilgrims (whether of Yelmalio, Kargzant, Manimat or Antirius (or even Elmalus?)) ascend the 'hill' they enter the mythic landscape which is very different to the terrain seen from below, so that the mere hill becomes something closer to a golden mountain.

If you go on the Otherworld quest, you will definitely enter the mythic landscape that is different from the rather "ordinary" hill.  The sky is twilight at best, and darkening. Winds and shadows whip around confusing the senses.  It gets increasingly cold.  Etc.  (it may even do much of that even without crossing to the Otherside given the magic of the place)

I think the only time you'll get some sense of a golden-topped mountain is if you follow the Immortality Quest - the one where Yelmalio is frozen by Inora, survives being gnawed upon by the Chaos parasites, and is still alive at the Dawn.  Then the golden ray of the Sun reveals Yelmalio alive atop the hill and the brightness of his Light glows.

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38 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

I'm not sure if you mentioned it explicitly, but doesn't the hill itself have a subtle luminous quality?

It probably does with the right "sight".  Maybe Detect Magic gives it all a diffuse glow. 

By day, though, any such glow is likely "hidden" within the light of Yelm to normal perception.  At night, I'd probably be disinclined to give it a glow as it seems contrary to Yelmalio's survival in the Darkness - but maybe it starts to get a faint glow in the pre-Dawn twilight in anticipation of Yelm's return? 

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4 hours ago, M Helsdon said:

reflects the Cosmic Mountain

btw, if you want to see the Cosmic Mountain, the place to do that is in Jillaro.  Conquering Daughter cult secret:  if you stand at the intersection of the two Daughter's Roads so that one eye faces towards Kero Fin, and the other towards Top of the World, then let your eyes go out of focus, the two will converge and you will find that the "road" now leads to the Cosmic Mountain.

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3 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

the right "sight"

Love this. It makes the existence of Catseye really interesting as part of the spiritual preparation required to really have the Hill Experience and "see the sparks." I wonder if people with Permanent Catseye are in some way always susceptible to being pulled into Hill interactions, etc. no matter where they are physically.

Lantern, maybe not so much. Might be obscure cult dogma here.

7 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

btw, if you want to see the Cosmic Mountain, the place to do that is in Jillaro.  Conquering Daughter cult secret:  if you stand at the intersection of the two Daughter's Roads so that one eye faces towards Kero Fin, and the other towards Top of the World, then let your eyes go out of focus, the two will converge and you will find that the "road" now leads to the Cosmic Mountain.

Hottest lore of the quarter.

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21 hours ago, jajagappa said:

While a Yelmalio quester might go alone, if they do go in a group, it is likely a group of four.  The reason I suggest that is that there are three points to the Truth rune, plus a center point where the arms join.  The leader of the quest, Yelmalio, is at the center.  He is accompanied by his Shield-bearer (always on the left), his Spear bearer (remember that Yelmalio still carried a sword before the quest), and his Torch bearer (the symbolic bearer of Fire).

I really like this, because I think one of the challenges to playing heroquests is getting everyone at the table involved. I suspect that's part of the popularity of the Lightbringer's Quest when roleplaying; everyone can participate.

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3 hours ago, Crel said:

I really like this, because I think one of the challenges to playing heroquests is getting everyone at the table involved.

I think the Hill of Gold offers a great opportunity for a SoloQuest (and could have versions for Yelmalio, Orlanth, Zorak Zoran, and even Inora).

At the same time, it is fully workable as a regular heroquest with multiple participants. Yelmalio is fairly easy to do four.  If you have 5, you add a "collective spirit" - the circle of light around the Truth Rune (which you could interpret in a few ways: healer, sage, guardian against spirits or magic, etc.).

For Orlanth, I'd probably use some standard "formula" that he is part of or that accompany him:  the Six Winds (north, south, east, west, upper, lower), or the Thunder Brothers, or the Four Magical Weapons.

Zorak Zoran probably just has minions, or a "horde".  But you might distinguish as the Shadows of Fear, Hate, Rage, and Death (or similar combination).

Inora's a Queen so might have a champion (aka ice demon), and attendants.  Perhaps she rides a sleigh if its Darkseason and there is sufficient snow/ice so that she's has her sleigh driver.

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The Hill of Gold is about 20 km NE of Jillaro and within 8 km of a village way station on the Hilltop Road. It is about 60 km SE of Alkoth and about 170 km SE of Glamour. I imagine now it receives a lot of pilgrims from throughout South Peloria, as it is very easy to get to. It is a prominent yellow-golden hill, and you can likely see it from Jillaro. 

The Hill of Gold is outside of the Dara Happan cultural zone, but not by a lot. It has been part of Vanch for centuries (and about 10% of Vanch's population belongs to the Yelmalio cult). It is also very sacred to the Yelm cult, particularly that of Darjinn, and pilgrims travel there to give thanks to Antirius Yelmalio for his sacrifices and suffering at the Hill of Gold. 

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3 hours ago, Jeff said:

The Hill of Gold is about 20 km NE of Jillaro and within 8 km of a village way station on the Hilltop Road. It is about 60 km SE of Alkoth and about 170 km SE of Glamour. I imagine now it receives a lot of pilgrims from throughout South Peloria, as it is very easy to get to. It is a prominent yellow-golden hill, and you can likely see it from Jillaro. 

The Hill of Gold is outside of the Dara Happan cultural zone, but not by a lot. It has been part of Vanch for centuries (and about 10% of Vanch's population belongs to the Yelmalio cult). It is also very sacred to the Yelm cult, particularly that of Darjinn, and pilgrims travel there to give thanks to Antirius Yelmalio for his sacrifices and suffering at the Hill of Gold. 

Is it going to be like in some RW religions where there are a bunch of permanent ascetics living around the holy site and meditating on the events that occured there, perhaps living off donations from pilgrims?

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Just now, Sir_Godspeed said:

Is it going to be like in some RW religions where there are a bunch of permanent ascetics living around the holy site and meditating on the events that occured there, perhaps living off donations from pilgrims?

Of course!

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Kate Glasheen's art of the Hill of Gold for Six Ages looks like this: 

 landscape-2-rockformation.jpg.a9ecb80ad220ab2d1e5e147d00d592e2.jpg

Obviously that's a long time ago! Way back in the Storm Age. But the geography might still be useful.

And this is how it looks in-game, with divine manifestation--not necessarily how those gods would look to modern heroquesters, but still super pretty. 

https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/sixages/images/6/61/SolarVsDarkness.png

Edited by Sheliak
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On 7/6/2020 at 8:23 PM, jajagappa said:

A question was raised over in the Facebook RuneQuest group

Thanks muck for doing gods’ (and goddess’) work! I do not want to make too much of a fuss about my feelings on FB so, thanks for the assist, good sir! May you harvest many likes and thanks from the help!

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